While they are fresh on my mind here are a few points for my readers from the Xero Roadshow. You will be hearing more about Xero from me in the days and weeks to come. I was pleasantly surprised with Xero. It was pretty well functional in most areas you would expect for accounting software, and it seemed fairly easy to use.
In my article leading up to the roadshow, I commented about their advertising slogan “Beautiful Accounting Software”, and quipped about their use of the word “Beautiful”. Ian Vacin, Xero VP for Marketing & Product, quickly set those attending straight on this subject. Xero uses the term beautiful to imply a magical experience that puts “a smile on the face” of their users. Many of their future promotional efforts will be centered upon conveying this experience.
Another of my preliminary witticisms dealt with the number of Xero users. I learned that the vast majority of their customer base still lies within New Zealand and Australia, but a growing number of US and Canadian users are transferring their shoe boxes of receipts or migrating from other software, to Xero every day. Could Xero possibly be New Zealand’s next great success story, following the tremendous popularity of their wines? Only time will tell!
The Xero approach to accounting seems slightly less rigorous than the step-by-step “QuickBooks way” which QB users must follow. The Bank Feeds, and preferred daily bank reconciliation, that Xero emphasizes is an entirely different way of approaching the day-to-day accounting chores, and differs greatly from QuickBooks, but seems to be consistent with the way that many small businesses actually deal with their finances.
Xero seems to be changing, adding and improving functionality almost every six weeks. One of the most recent changes is their new Files feature which allows users to attach documents to specific Xero transactions.
The Xero Roadshow is also premiering their new payroll functionality which seems to be on par with the kind of do-it-yourself payroll one would expect from a small business accounting package. Xero plans to roll out payroll on a state by state schedule based upon the number of Xero users in each state. In order to promote their payroll function Xero is establishing an entirely new pricing structure that will make payroll affordable for many small businesses.
I will be focusing my one good eye on the progress Xero is making to keep you abreast of Xero’s improvements as we go through the software’s features in future articles.